Els for Autism Foundation will host the second annual Roots & Ruts Off-Road 5K and Family Fun Run on Saturday, April 24, to celebrate Autism Awareness Month. The event will take place at the North Jupiter Flatwoods, the first certified autism-friendly trail in Florida, and will serve as both a fundraiser to support people with autism, and a celebration of the strides our community continues to make toward autism awareness and acceptance.
“We are thrilled to be hosting our second annual Roots & Ruts 5K during Autism Awareness Month,” said Liezl Els, co-founder of Els for Autism Foundation. “These have been tough times for everyone, and we are looking forward to bringing our local community together in a safe, fun and healthy way, all while bringing more awareness to our mission.”
The race will begin at The Els Center of Excellence campus in Jupiter in staggered start times, or “waves,” to avoid congestion and maintain COVID-safe distances at the start line and throughout the race. Participants will select their wave start time based on their mile pace and skill level.
The first wave will begin at 7:30 a.m. Participants will run through the adjacent North Jupiter Flatwoods Natural Area and enjoy the beautiful scenery of native Florida habitats. During each wave, five runners will be directed to the corral and started every 20 seconds.
The entry for adults costs $35 and entry for children 14 years and younger costs $25. Registration includes a shirt and finisher medal. The first 50 people to enter will receive a hat with the 5K logo. For a donation of $10, runners anywhere in the world can opt-in to a Virtual Run and receive a certificate after submitting their results.
The North Jupiter Flatwoods was declared an autism-friendly area by the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) in 2019. Developed improvements to the area include 0.5 miles of ADA paved trails, visual signage, benches for break areas, a swing, physical barriers, and sensory stations.
Autism Awareness Month is observed globally each year in April. With 1 in 54 children diagnosed with autism every year, the foundation sincerely thanks everyone for helping to make a difference in the lives of individuals with autism.